February 15, 2013

Got Your Yoga GPS? ~ Charlotte Chandler Stone

The Journey’s Map: From Here to Self-realization.

While updating my studio management software a few days ago, I happened upon a bit of information I’d never noticed before: the studio’s exact location. Oh no, I don’t mean the street, or city or zip code. I’m talking latitude and longitude.

Latitude: 40.9018649, longitude: -74.0048757, to be precise.

I know what you’re thinking: no one will be searching for the studio by latitude and longitude, and you’re right. So what gives?

I never did find out what the software had in mind by providing this information. But I have some thoughts of my own.

In yoga, we speak a lot about the path of yoga. We are on a journey. Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras lay out a brilliant road map for getting from here to there. Where we come from is a place of ignorance, pain, stress, illusion and confusion. Where we are going is bliss, transcendence, truth, Samadhi.

We embark on this journey, this Magical Mystery Tour, our sights set on this hoped-for outcome. If we work the practice with diligence and persistence, and live the life outlined by the Sutras, we can get “there,” while being fully present to each moment as it unfolds.

But on this particular day, faced with this idea of latitude and longitude, I see a new aspect to the yoga journey: to have a destination, we need to have a starting point.

Where do we begin the journey toward wholeness and healing?

Yoga asks us to look deeply at “who am I?” But, faced with latitude and longitude, a new line of inquiry beckons: “Where Am I?”

Who Am I?” gets to the journey within, as we endeavor to excavate the soul and discover our very essence. “Where Am I?” opens a different door to self-discovery. Because, in order to set a destination and choose a path that will get us from here to there, we need to know where here is.

Present moment awareness is about time, and about our experience of time expanded through mindfulness. Latitude and longitude speak of location: a very specific place where we are. Knowing our spiritual coordinates—our very own yoga GPS—provides us with that first pin on the map of our unfolding destiny.

So where does my journey begin? It begins right here, at this latitude and longitude of my life. In this place, at this time. And from this place, I know the practice will lead me toward that other pin on the map: self-realization. It will lead me home.


Charlotte Chandler Stone is the founder of the Stone Center for Yoga & Health and the director of the Yoga Alliance-accredited Stone Yoga Teacher Training, in Teaneck, NJ. A yoga teacher, yoga therapist, coach and writer, she passionately believes that there is a “yoga of living” at which each of us can excel. Guided by her mantra (“Your Yoga. Your Way.”) she specializes in adapting yoga to people’s individual needs, making it accessible, healing, empowering, and fun. Her work has been featured in numerous articles and on NJN-TV, and her studio was recently voted #1 in Bergen County for the second year in a row. You can connect with her on her website, on Twitter, through her blog, or via email.

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Ed: Brianna Bemel
Asst. Editor: Edith Lazenby

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